Before the Fall of the Wall

With works from the museum’s comprehensive collection of 1980s art, ARoS focuses on the creative explosion that took place in Danish painting in the years up to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

I år er det 30 år siden, at Berlinmuren faldt. De dramatiske dage i november 1989 betød et farvel til en verden, hvor to modsatrettede ideologier havde været på kollisionskurs i næsten et halvt århundrede og indhyllet verden i permanent frygt for en altødelæggende atomkrig.

Nu præsenterer udstillingen Before the Fall of the Wall omkring 40 værker, der er skabt i 1980’erne af toneangivende kunstnere som Claus Carstensen, Inge Ellegaard, Erik A. Frandsen og Christian Lemmerz. I denne periode genoptog de maleriet og dyrkede forestillingen om de store fortællingers død og kunst uden budskab. De lod således det revitaliserede maleri eksplodere i et hav af farver og referencer, som pegede i alle retninger.

- På ARoS har vi en fantastisk samling af 80’er-kunst, som vi gerne vil vise frem. Det er ikke så længe siden, at jerntæppet faldt, men vi har en tendens til at glemme historien, og det vil vi med denne udstilling gerne minde publikum om, siger museumsdirektør Erlend G. Høyersten, ARoS.

Udstillingen viser også værker af udenlandske kunstnere, som Helmut Middendorf og Terry Atkinson. I modsætning til den danske kunstscene, der forholdt sig apatisk til de store verdenspolitiske spændinger, så er konflikten mellem øst og vest markant til stede i en række af de udenlandske værker på udstillingen.

This year is the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Those dramatic days in November 1989 meant a farewell to a world where two opposing ideologies had been set on a collision course for nearly half a century and had shrouded the world with a permanent terror of an all-encompassing atomic war. 

The exhibition Before the Fall of the Wall showcases around 40 works, all created in the 1980s by leading artists such as Claus Carstensen, Inge Ellegaard, Erik A. Frandsen and Christian Lemmerz. During this period they took up painting again and celebrated the demise of the great narratives and messageless art. They thus allowed this revitalised art form to explode in a burst of colour and references pointing in all directions.

At ARoS we have a fabulous collection of 80s art which we are keen to show off. It is not so very long ago since the Iron Curtain fell but we do have a tendency to forget history, so we would like to remind our audiences with this exhibition, says museum director Erlend G. Høyersten, ARoS. 

The exhibition also shows works of foreign artists such as Helmut Middendorf and Terry Atkinson. In contrast to the Danish art scene, which regarded the great political tensions in the world with apathy, the conflict between East and West is highly conspicuous in many of the foreign artworks shown here.   

A word about the 1980s

Although the lines between East and West were drawn up very sharply with communism and planned economy on one side and democracy and capitalism on the other, the West of the 1980s was characterised by its own innate contradictions. It was an age of pop and glitter, the music channel MTV was born and flourished, and the music video lifted pop stars up to new heights. Hollywood cultivated the nostalgia of the 1950s when American consumerism became a global phenomenon, further encouraged under the neo-liberalism of Ronald Reagan. But in sharp contrast to the rise of consumerism and popular culture, this period also gave birth to the punk movement, anarchism, squatters and a powerful left wing that, despite its internal differences, was united in opposition to the prevailing capitalism of the day.

Curator-in-charge: Jakob Vengberg Sevel, curator, ARoS.

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For further information:

Anne Riis

Communications Officer

T: 2888 4464 E: ari@aros.dk

Jens Henrik Daugaard

Communications Officer

T: 2888 4467 E: jehd@aros.dk

Jakob Vengberg Sevel

Curator, mag.art

T: 2835 2656 E: jvs@aros.dk